It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you.
The reason I’ve been away so long is that I’ve been hard at work on my next book, due out in 2019 on Ek Zuban called ‘My Name is X’.
My original intention was for it to be a thriller novel about modern-day slavery and human trafficking. However, along the way, it morphed into something else.
I’d been working on it for most of 2017 alongside re-working my crime novel called ‘Black Heart.’
Whilst the crime novel was going well with great feedback from Courttia Newland and superb insights from Jacob Ross.
‘My Name is X’ wasn’t running smoothly at all.
I’d had it all set out – plotline, characters, research in the U.K and abroad. It was probably the most organized in-depth planning I’d ever done on a writing project.
Things didn’t run like they were supposed to (do they ever). Mudslides in Sierra Leone kaiboshed my international plans.
As part of my daily warm-up exercises to get me in the mood for writing the gritty scenes, I’d write poems about the subject, the imagery, what I was trying to get across in the narrative, then once that was done I would crack on with the ‘proper’ stuff of the prose.
I entered my crime novel ‘Black Heart’ into the Penguin Random House Write Now competition and made it through to the longlist. As a result of this, I met Burhana Islam in Newcastle (who eventually got selected as one of the winners). She told me about verse novels.
A lightbulb went off in my head.
The story I was trying to tell was best served in the format of a verse novel, not straight prose.
I went back to the poems (never throw anything you’ve written away)
and that became the new basis for the novel.